As the Smallville Season 11 comic book begins its third arc the story is about to speed up — literally. Clark Kent's old friend and teammate Bart Allen, aka the lightning-fast hero Impulse, makes his debut in the digital series in this Friday's chapter. And DC Comics has plans to expand the series, a top-selling title in both digital and print.
The new arc, "Haunted," will explore the origins of Bart's ability to run at super speed. "There's something that has been haunting Bart for some time, some baggage he's been carrying," says writer Bryan Q. Miller of the title. "Everyone in our story is being haunted — physically, metaphorically — by some element of their past."
When Bart first appeared in the TV show's fourth season episode "Run," he told Clark there was an accident and "this huge flash of light" that gave him his turbo charge. "For the first time ever we head-on address how Bart got his powers," says Miller, who was also a writer on the TV series. "Perhaps there was more to it than possibly even Bart knows."
"Haunted" will have more direct connections to the television show than Season 11's earlier stories. "It's the first time we are relying heavily on previous Smallville series history," Miller says. "This arc has many more roots in specific episodes and mythology from the series." It also continues Chloe's quest to learn more about her dopplegänger from the parallel universe of Earth 2, as well as Lex's attempts to fill in the blanks of his amnesia.
"So industrious was Lex at covering his own tracks, that he hid the information from himself," Miller says. He's been harassed by his subconscious memory of his half-sister Tess, who he killed in the TV finale just as she drugged him with a mind-erasing drug. "Tess' memories are that last bastion of him. This is his last desperate attempt to find out the man he was before the amnesia, and also to find out what she knows — that he presumably also knew — about Superman."
Smallville Season 11 is published digitally three Fridays a month (and later collected in print editions). Starting Friday, Jan. 4, a new series of parallel adventures will be published digitally on the title's off-week. The first arc, "Effigy" features a team-up with John Jones, aka the Martian Manhunter (another recurring guest star on the TV show), and Batman, who made his Smallville universe debut in Season 11's most recent storyline. "These are stories that will help fill in the rest of our world while Clark is busy on his main adventure," Miller says. "The first four off-weeks will be 'Effigy.' It gives everyone a chance to keep that Smallville machine rolling every week."